Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Space Factor

Continuing with the discussion started by our own Blue Devil Knight, I have been thinking more about Heisman's comment about space being a pseudo-factor. I think I understand his idea there, but I don't think I would phrase it the same way, especially explaining it to a beginner. If you view space as something that could lead to a real advantage, couldn't the same argument be made for territory, mobility, or pawn structure?

Is space a real factor? I say yes. Although what I posted here certainly brings up the double-edged quality of pushing a pawn, it's generally more of a plus than the minus. Summarizing I think the big plus an overall space advantage typically gives one is less options for your opponent's pieces in his own territory and more options for you to perform exchanges, simple tactics, sacrifices for promotion, or other combinations in his territory. That seems real. And I know that tactics can happen anywhere, but I think it's much more annoying to threaten things deep in the other half of the board.

In an even, symmetrical position (especially with the center pawns locked), I often think to go for space. You could argue that that a move isn't so much about space, but rather a plan to control certain advanced squares while simultaneously blocking your opponent from pushing his pawn forward. That's simply a matter of semantics, and I think it's simpler to call it "space".

I read a bit in my old copy of My System, looking for space discussion. Nimzovich doesn't focus on space much but rather the center and development, emphatically so.

Tying this in, think how chess engines work. Every pawn push that doesn't compromise King safety adds a little bonus to the position, and the center pawns get bigger bonuses as they advance. As pawns near promotion, the positional bonus increases. Engines do pretty well with this approach, which pretty much seems like treating space as a real factor.


TCT Results

Circle 1Circle 2Circle 3Circle 4Circle 5Circle 6Circle 7
Step 197%99%99%100%r
Step 293%96%95%97%96%99%100%
Step 393%97%97%96%96%98%99%
Step 480%86%90%92%88%*
Step 574%77%83%87%

That's pretty accurate, from what I understand about chess programming, but that kind of averaging is done for all pieces.

The way that some of the more basic ones work (at least) is that they have an 8x8 matrix of values for each piece. For the queen, bishop, and knight they would probably have increased values near the center (the knight might have it on the sixth rank, away from the sides). The pawns would have increased value as the were in the center.

What a computer does is it calculates all of the variations for each move down a tree and then apply this matrix to each piece and then it finds the move that has the highest possible low score for each variation. In other words, if Qe4+ will result in mate in two, if K to whatever is played, that must be compared against the fact that there is a Knight nearby that can take that queen. Therefore, the lowest low is far less low than the quite move h6, which keeps the opponents Knight from g5, preventing him from reaching a deep post.

This creates a kind of prophylaxis while playing chess, and its why the computer is so good at finding quiet moves as well as tactics. Forced combinations are easy for the computer because the move tree becomes a straight linked list, and has extremely quick computational results.
Very helpful discussion, as usual from you. As I played with this in Fritz the other day, it dawned on me that you are correct: one, perhaps the reason to consider the pawn fence territory as a factor (in addition to simply replacing it with mobility) is because of its correlation with ability to promote a pawn.
The way several of the simpler people function Cheap wow gold(no less than) is because they offer an 8x8 matrix associated with values per piece. To the king, bishop, and also soldier they will most likely have risen values nearby the heart (your dark night might have that around the sixth list, out from the attributes). Your Buy rs goldpawns can have elevated value since the had been from the centre.
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